May 2020

Nicolas Zanotti Fregonara ‘18

Nicolas attended Awty from 2016 to 2018. Born from an Italian father and a French mother, Nicolas spoke two languages at home. This quickly made him realize that even if languages are not universal, some ideas are, and being raised in different cultures allowed him an increased global understanding of the world. Due to his father’s job, Nicolas attended many schools all over the world. First in Paris, then in D.C., Bordeaux, and finally Houston.

Nicolas started scouting from a young age and while in Houston, he decided to found a troop of European Scouts. While at Awty, he developed a deep interest in economics, sociology and geopolitics. Particularly interested in the African continent and the Middle East, after graduation Nicolas decided to enroll in Sciences Po Paris, Menton campus, where he studies political science with a Middle East specialization.

We are proud to present this interview as our May 2020 Alumni Spotlight!

What college are you attending and why did you choose that field?

I am currently an undergrad at Sciences Po Paris’, Menton campus, on the Franco-Italian border where I study political science with a Middle East specialization. I chose to study at Sciences Po because of its general bachelor level teaching that allows me to acquire a broad academic foundation in subjects such as history, law, economics, sociology, languages and political science; leaving the doors wide open for me to choose a specialization of choice at a master's level.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I still don’t really have a clear picture of where I'll be in five years time, but there are two quite different paths that interest me. One is to become a business lawyer after doing a joint master's degree in business law and finance, while the other is to try to pass the “concours de l’école de l’air” next year and become a fighter pilot.

What person, course, or experience most influenced you while at Awty? How?

A whole set of factors, both in terms of the teaching and the people I met at Awty, influenced me. If one person were to stand out, it would be Monsieur Deyrieux, my economics and sociology teacher in première and terminale (11th and 12th grade). He undoubtedly helped me make the most progress intellectually. Through the many debates we had inside and outside the classroom, I was able to develop critical thinking skills and better grasp economic, political, and social issues. Mr. Deyrieux also helped me confirm my college choice and then prepared me very well for the “concours” (the exam to get into that college!). For that, I would like to thank him most sincerely.

Share your favorite memory of Awty:

I had so many good memories at Awty. It's hard to choose one. One of the best memories I have is participating at the Model United Nations in Chicago in my senior year.


How did your education at Awty prepare you for what you did in college and are doing today?

It is above all the quality teachers at Awty who prepared me for what I am doing today in college. Whether it was the French courses that gave me a taste of French style “dissertation” exercises; history courses that prepared me to write good research papers; or SES (economic and social sciences) courses that helped develop my critical thinking skills: the teaching at Awty provided me with a solid academic foundation that’s essential to what I am doing in college.

What advice would you give current Awty students interested in pursuing a career in your field?

Only being in my second year of university, I can hardly give advice to students who want to pursue a career in my field, but if I were to give advice to those interested in studying at Sciences Po (and in political science in general), I would say two main things. First: read a lot so you can acquire good general knowledge. That’s essential in this type of study. Second: debate with people who have different points of view as much as possible. This allows you to develop an equally essential capacity for analysis and criticism.

What is something people may not know about you?

I am fascinated by 19th century history - specifically the period between the French Revolution and the end of the First Empire.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I’d just like to thank my teachers and all the Awty staff for making my two years at Awty so special.